How to guide: Getting the most from Instagram stories

When you think of Instagram what do you automatically think of? Pictures of holidays, food, daily travels and brand ambassadors promoting beauty products and clothing ranges, right? Well, this is where you’re wrong! Instagram can be great, when used properly, for your business, and I’m going to tell you how…

Use the effects provided


The first effect is ‘type’. With this, you can type an inspirational quote and change the background colour of it. Alternatively, if you are going to record a series of videos, you may choose to use this to state the topic of what you will be speaking about.


This is an all-time favourite for anybody who works in Social Media! Live stories are great because they enable you to connect and engage with your audience in a completely different way. You can also invite people to your live videos and people can request to join, in order to give their opinion and have a discussion on the subject.


This effect can be great to show little snippets of things, perhaps a snippet of a launch campaign. Boomerang creates a bounce effect of something moving, then the reversal of it, here’s an example!
You can find this feature by clicking on your user icon in the top left of your app and swiping across to boomerang. You can have great fun with this feature and use it for piñatas, confetti cannons, pouring a cup of tea and pretty much anything else that moves.


This feature is great to capture a wide shot, and to then zoom into something to really emphasise it. For example, if you are doing a product launch, you may start with the initial shot of your office, but then tap on the new product (as you would to zoom your camera in) and Instagram will zoom into it with music in the background to fit the situation.
You can also change the music and the effect that this will produce. When you swipe along on the Instagram story camera to choose your effect and land on superzoom, you will see a musical note above the record button, where you can change the effect.

How to use these effectively

But the fun doesn’t stop there. There are still many more ways that you can capitalise on your stories.


You can post stickers on your posts to make them more eye-catching to your audience. Once you have taken your image for your story, you can click on the square (with the smiley face) at the top right of the page and it will bring up stickers such as the one that I have put on our image to the right.


Use GIFs

The key to using GIFs in your story is to be selective and not to bombard your story with GIFs for the sake of it. These GIFs can be found on the same smiley face box at the top of the screen as the stickers. It will be an interactive text box that types out ‘G I F’. On our @zcsocialmedia Instagram account, you can see examples of how we have used GIFs on our stories in our ‘highlights’ section – please note that these are only visible on a mobile device.

Use Hashtags

Using hashtags on your stories, gives you the potential to reach thousands of Instagram users within your target audience, looking for your type of content. You can again, post a hashtag in a ‘sticker’ format, and this can also be found on the sticker menu.


You can also tag your location into your stories. This is a brilliant thing to use on your stories because it will put you on the local story. For example, if you tag ‘kent’ as a location, if you have a story with a good engagement rate, you will appear on the local story and increase your reach and impressions.


Polls are great when interacting with your audience. If you get good engagement, this will increase the chances of being seen on your local story, or the story with your hashtags on it. With polls, you can ask questions to get your audience involved and make sure that you are providing them with content that they want to see. However, you can only ask polls with 2 answers. The default answers are ‘yes’ and ‘no’ but, you can change these.

Story settings

If you want to reach the maximum audience that you can, especially when running a campaign, you can go to story settings and allow sharing. This means that when people see your story of really great and engaging content, they can share it with their audience, which will increase your reach and your potential audience.

Story insights

If your Instagram profile is a business page, you can actually click on your story, swipe up and see insights, which will let you know which content is performing better than others, which will help you plan future content. This is a fairly new feature which mankes it possible for marketers to analyse all types of content that they post out to Instagram, even down to the back taps!

These insights will then be broken down more to help you analyse the data plan your next set of content:


As you can see, Instagram has a wide range of tools available to you to increase your organic reach and levels of engagement through their stories, and when used together, they work really well.

If you have any questions about anything that has been discussed above, please don’t’ hesitate to contact me at or call 03301025535 and one of the team will be happy to help.

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